By Jonathan Young
“Don’t be afraid. If there’s something you don’t know don’t be afraid to ask questions. You can sit down, lie down, and cry about it but nothing will happen if you don’t push yourself, and the only way to help yourself is to learn how to help yourself- to jump in and learn from others
Tracie first began working with CEF when she was living at Homestart, Chapel Hill’s women’s shelter. Tracie had recently moved from New York City and was unemployed. “When I started over I didn’t have a dime in my pocket!” she said. She wanted to work with CEF because “when I first met them they were coming to the shelter teaching classes. They were really down to earth and supportive.” With the help of member advocates, Tracie was hired for three jobs at once and took them all. “I transferred my money into their account and just saved saved saved…” Within 90 days she had already gotten an apartment for herself, moving out of the shelter in just three and a half months.
She learned and met even more friends while taking CEF’s savings and business classes during which time “We grew closer and closer as friends more like a family. I didn’t have any family or friends here but I didn’t let that spoil my birthday. I bought a cake, people cooked and we had a party at the shelter. I gained new friends and CEF became a new family for me.”
When asked about her advice to members she replied that “My best advice is not to give up. If you don’t have a job count the blessings that you’re in school, if you’re not in school pick up some kind of training skill or take classes… for me I came here from New York with no money and the [CEF] classes are free! Anywhere that says they offer free classes for 12 weeks and you don’t have a job you better jump up and take that class for 12 weeks cause you need to learn you don’t know everything and the more you learn the more you know. You get to take that knowledge with you to your next job”
Currently Tracie has her own 2 bedroom apartment, is working two jobs and just got an interview for a third job in retail, a longtime passion of hers.